Red Sea Acropora hemprichii Bacterial Population Dynamics under Adverse Anthropogenic Conditions
Committee MembersBayer, Till
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AbstractReef-building corals are cornerstones of life in the oceans. Understanding their interactions with microorganisms and their surrounding physicochemical conditions is important to comprehend reef functioning and ultimately protect coral reef ecosystems. Corals associate with a complex and specific array of microorganisms that supposedly affect their physiology and therefore can significantly determine the condition of a coral ecosystem. As environmental conditions may shape bacterial diversity and ecology in the coral symbiosis, ecosystem changes might have unfavorable consequences for the holobiont, to date poorly understood. Here, we were studying microbial community changes in A. hemprichii as a consequence of simulated eutrophication and overfishing over a period of 16 weeks by using in situ caging and slow release fertilizer treatments in an undisturbed Red Sea reef (22.18ºN, 38.57ºW). We used 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing to evaluate the individual and combined effects of overnutrification and fishing pressure, two of the most common local threats to coral reefs. With our data we hope to better understand bacterial population dynamics under anthropogenic influences and its role in coral resilience. Projecting further, this data will be useful to better predict the consequences of human activity on reef ecosystems.